This Article is About
pain relief
anti inflammatory drugs
conventional medication
prolonged periods
Arthritis And Dog Pain Relief
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Arthritis And Dog Pain Relief

Does your dog have arthritis? If so, do you know what treatments are available for relieving the pain and discomfort it causes?

Arthritis is the most common cause of chronic pain in canines. It’s a joint disease characterised by the breakdown of cartilage. It is progressive and causes loss of mobility. These days’, vets use a variety of medications, supplements and alternative therapies in their arsenal to combat arthritis.

This article aims to examine some of the treatments that may provide the best solution for dog arthritis relief.

Conventional Medication (NSAIDs)

The acronym stands for Nosteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. These drugs protect against the breakdown of cartilage. Usually, a daily dose of the medication is given based on the weight of the dog. Most come in liquid or tablet form. They have proved effective for controlling pain and inflammation. The main ones available on prescription are:

• Rimadyl (carprofen)

• Etogesic (etodolac)

• Deramaxx (deracoxib)

• Previcox (firocoxib)

• Metacam (meloxicam)

• Novox (generic carprofen)

• Zubrin (tepoxalin)

All medications have possible side effects such as, vomiting, diarrhoea, and depression. If taken for prolonged periods they can have serious effects on liver and kidney function. If you notice any problems then contact your vet immediately.

Sometimes vets recommend using steroid (cortisone) anti-inflammatory injections for chronic cases of arthritis. Steroids are injected directly into the joint. This treatment is rarely used in dogs.

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Supplements

Our vet suggested that I also administer a glucosamine with chondroitin tablet alongside the Metacam. Most dogs suffering from arthritis are on some kind of glucosamine type remedy. The supplement helps protect the joints and rebuild cartilage.

The Supplement may be given with food. Dogs will respond in different ways to supplements. Some will need larger doses than others. Some will respond better than others. It is a matter of trying things out to see what works for your pet.

Anti-Inflammatories

In addition to the glucosamine / chondroitin, I also use a fish oil tablet. Fish oils provide omega-3 fatty acids that help reduce inflammation. They are beneficial no matter what type of diet you feed. Because fish oil depletes vitamin E in the body, vets recommend that you should also give vitamin E supplements.

Dogs with arthritis also need adequate amounts of calcium, Vitamins C, D and magnesium, all of which are present in commercial feeds. Unless feeding a raw diet, there is no reason for owners to give extra amounts.

Alternative remedies

Hydrotherapy

Swimming is good exercise for dogs with joint problems because the water supports the weight of the body, allowing exercise without over-stressing the joints. Our vet recently installed a new hydrotherapy unit. Basically, it’s a large tank with side viewing panels. Within the tank is a treadmill that can be programmed to move at various speeds. The tank is filled with warm water. The unit is run by a qualified physical therapist who's also a veterinary nurse. This treatment is proving very popular, but the sessions are very expensive.

Massage

Many owners recommend massage to treat arthritis. At its simplest level it involves gently stroking the dog from head to tail or shoulder to toe. Other techniques involve small rotation of fingers around affected joints. The benefits of massage are said to include increased blood circulation to the affected area, improved mobility, and relaxation. Vets can recommend trained physical therapist to carry out the massage if owners are worried about doing it for themselves.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is another option widely available to pet owners. It is claimed to increase the blood circulation to muscles and joints. Supporters also believe it relieves painful muscle spasms and releases endorphins to make the dog feel better. The biggest disadvantage with acupuncture is the cost. It’s an expensive treatment that can only be carried by trained operatives.

Herbs

Owners who prefer more holistic treatments for arthritis regularly use herbs in conjunction with other remedies. Some herbs are potent anti-inflammatory and can be sprinkled over the dog’s food. Some of the most beneficial herbs are:

• Tumeric

• Boswellia

• Devil’s claw (a herb from South Africa)

• Alfalfa

Magnetic Dog Collars

Magnetic dog collars are widely available online. Manufacturers claim they work by stimulating blood flow, which in turn, reduces inflammation and pain. Opinions are still divided on this treatment. Some owners claim excellent results. Others say it’s an expensive mistake.

Special diets and weight loss

One of the best things you can do to treat arthritis is to make sure your pet is not overweight. Excess weight adds stress to the joints. Dogs maintaining a healthy weight throughout their lives are less likely to develop arthritis, and even if they do, it’s generally 3 years later than an overweight dog.

There are many brands of dog food you can buy to help your pet lose weight. Vets will help put together a weight loss program appropriate to your individual dog. Many manufacturers have developed foods specifically designed for dogs with arthritis.

For me personally, using a combination treatment plan which includes a glucosamine/chondroitin supplement, regular low impact exercise, a weight loss diet and occasional use of NSAID and anti-inflammatory medication is providing the best solution to my dog’s arthritis relief. He has certainly “perked up” of late and his mobility has improved.

The best thing any responsible owner can do in this situation is work with a vet who will tailor make a plan for their individual dog. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to seek out the most appropriate treatments and prepare for what our dogs will go through once they have been diagnosed with arthritis.


Street Talk

I have been lucky that so far none of my dogs suffered from arthritis that needed treatment, although most have lived to a ripe old age. Maybe it's all the walking we do with them that helps. Lots of great info. here. Thanks

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